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Re: [Bartitsu_Forum] Re:OT: World War I Military Combatives?

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  • Jason Couch
    I ll keep this relatively short, because just going by memory I ll screw it up. The WWI stuff is fascinating, though, and an area that really could use some
    Message 1 of 15 , Mar 1, 2008
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      I'll keep this relatively short, because just going by memory I'll screw it up. The WWI stuff is fascinating, though, and an area that really could use some more exploration, both in the stacks and on the mats.

      H2H


      Ken, that's probably a good idea of what the WWI H2H training looked like. The core syllabus revolved around western boxing, a few jj moves (primarily the rear naked choke), and maybe a wrestling move or two throw in. I actually like the WWI training methods as they tend to be pretty high percentage moves and pretty natural for anyone who's done any training. The WWII stuff, which is very popular today, feels less natural to me in many respects.

      There was a train-the trainer system in place where the future instructors would go through the course and then lead the men further later on. It should not be surprising that the quality of instruction could vary greatly. Many learned boxing at the hands of current champions, such as Benny Leonard, and jujutsu from Allan C. Smith. It looks like Smith was commissioned direct from the Kodokan (he was an early western black belt) to come to the US and teach jj to the troops. It looks like he went into a bit more depth with his soldiers, as I've seen pictures of him training them in large groups doing things other than the bayonet, such as throws and wrist locks. There were all kind of pro wrestlers floating around as well, and they were often tapped to help teach. At least one was noted as being full of crap. Onn the other end of the spectrum you have the guys with no prior experience who were given the trainer crash course and then supposed to go out and teach the troops over the next few months.

      Bayonet

      Probably the manuals to look at most closely if you want to know what was actual being used during WW1 are the 1913 manual and anything by Raycroft. Raycroft, in charge of the Commission on Training Camp Activities developed policy for what was taught everywhere for bayonet & H2H training. He stayed involved too, as camp leaders were required to send regular progress reports (Smith was not so good at that and received regular reminders to file his TPS Reports). The 1913 manual was almost certainly the last official Army word on the subject. The McClellan manual from the Civil War era would probably make a good basis for comparison of how things changed in between.

      I'd be careful with the bayonet manuals randomly published at the outbreak of WWI because they may or may not be relevant. Sme were published by people who had nothing to do with training soldiers during the Great War, they just know something about the bayonet and capitalized on the war with a little fear mongering (this book wills ave your son's life over there"-type stuff. Some were published by guys who may have trained soldiers, but in the Podunk USAF aircraft mechanics technical school. Sure, he trained all 300 of them during the course of the war, but it may or may not have much to do with waht most doliers were trained. THen there are guys who did train soldiers and trained many of them. Smith is a good example, but I don't know if he ever wrote a bayonet manual.

      BTW, I have been looking for Smith's "10 Ways to 'Get' a Boche" for going on ten years now, so if anyone ever comes across it, I'd love to talk to them.

      Thanks,



      Ken Pfrenger wrote:

      About 8 years or so ago I had in my possession a short vid clip of US
      soldiers being trained circa 1919 in hand to hand combat, some jujitsu
      like moves and boxing. I can't remember where I got it, possibly from
      Ralph. I passed the tape along to Tim Ruzicki some years ago,perhaps
      he still has it?

      My interest in it was the boxing training and I distinctly recall it
      had a much older look to it than MoQ rules of the era, vertical
      straight pinches to the head, horizontal punches to the body, most
      likely close to Dempsey's style. I wish i still had a copy.

      Ken


    • gallowglassacad@aol.com
      ... From: Jason Couch To: Bartitsu_Forum@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sat, 1 Mar 2008 7:54 am Subject: Re: [Bartitsu_Forum] Re:OT:
      Message 2 of 15 , Mar 1, 2008
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        -----Original Message-----
        From: Jason Couch <jasoncouch@...>
        To: Bartitsu_Forum@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sat, 1 Mar 2008 7:54 am
        Subject: Re: [Bartitsu_Forum] Re:OT: World War I Military Combatives?

        I'll keep this relatively short, because just going by memory I'll screw it up. The WWI stuff is fascinating, though, and an area that really could use some more exploration, both in the stacks and on the mats.

        H2H


        Ken, that's probably a good idea of what the WWI H2H training looked like. The core syllabus revolved around western boxing, a few jj moves (primarily the rear naked choke), and maybe a wrestling move or two throw in. I actually like the WWI training methods as they tend to be pretty high percentage moves and pretty natural for anyone who's done any training. The WWII stuff, which is very popular today, feels less natural to me in many respects.

        There was a train-the trainer system in place where the future instructors would go through the course and then lead the men further later on. It should not be surprising that the quality of instruction could vary greatly. Many learned boxing at the hands of current champions, such as Benny Leonard, and jujutsu from Allan C. Smith. It looks like Smith was commissioned direct from the Kodokan (he was an early western black belt) to come to the US and teach jj to the troops. It looks like he went into a bit more depth with his soldiers, as I've seen pictures of him training them in large groups doing things other than the bayonet, such as throws and wrist locks. There were all kind of pro wrestlers floating around as well, and they were often tapped to help teach. At least one was noted as being full of crap. Onn the other end of the spectrum you have the guys with no prior experience who were given the trainer crash course and then supposed to go out and teach the troops over the next few months.>.
        Jason,
        Do you know of any WWI era military manuals on H2H?  If so are they readily available?


        Allen

      • Jason Couch
        Well, I haven t seen a whole lot at all, at least not compared to WWII, and of what I have seen, I wouldn t call any of it comprehensive. The closest thing I
        Message 3 of 15 , Mar 1, 2008
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          Well, I haven't seen a whole lot at all, at least not compared to WWII, and of what I have seen, I wouldn't call any of it comprehensive. The closest thing I found was a syllabus in the National Archives that hit maybe a dozen or so techniques, but some of it was torn away. Like the bayonet, you tend to have guys cashing in commercially who may or may not have been part of the official curriculum.  Even for the guys who actually taught soldiers, they might restrict their manual to the parts they knew best, whether boxing, wrestling, or jujutsu.

          For example, Smith is online at EJMAS. See http://ejmas.com/jnc/jncframe.htm . Some parts of that series, like much of volume VII, is very nice and thigns I've seen mentioned in the Commission correspondence, other volumes of Smith you have to pick and choose to get the good stuff. Much of that, well probably most of it, I would label as jujutsu rather than combatives.

          For wrestling, Billy Sandow had one or more books about his time at Fort Dix, but IIRC, he made it out to be a lot more than it was in his books. I think the correspondence shows he was either there temporarily or more to put on some shows to entertain the troops. I could be remembering that wrong, but that's how I recall it. His book is pretty silly in some respects, I'll have to pull it out, but I think he spends a major portion devoted to his jumping leg scissors takedown, or whatever he calls it (maybe the "Sandow go behind" or something like that). Just mind blowing to me that he was trying to pass it off as a wartime combatives technique, but what do I know. I think Al Williams (real name was Italian, or vice versa, something like Humbert or maybe Al Caltharazzi) was a pro wrestler who also wrote a book of crude hand drawn figures. Again, IIRC, he was the one that was pretty much ridiculed in the official correspondence as a fraud. He tried to get by teaching some sort of breath exercises or something but was finally canned.

          For the boxing, you can probably take any period manual and pretty much have it. I've looked at some of the training camp newspapers and it looks about what you would expect- strong boxing with a heft dose of bare knuckle still left in it with vertical punches that lunge a bit rather than the tighter but less committed modern jabs. As far as I could tell, Benny Leonard probably had the most influence of any single boxer.

          I've heard there is also film footage of some of this in the National Archives, I'll have to set aside a couple of days and see what more I can find. I spent two days there long ago and only got through about half the correspondence of the Wartime Commission on Training Camp Activities.

          Anyway, I'll pull this all out real soon and try to get some specifics. It's been too long to pull it from memory.



          gallowglassacad@... wrote:



          Jason,
          Do you know of any WWI era military manuals on H2H?  If so are they readily available?


          Allen



        • james
          Sorry for delay, not getting much yahoogroup time of late. Re H2H – Cris mentioned Raycroft which you can get from Google Books now, there’s also a book by
          Message 4 of 15 , Mar 3, 2008
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            Sorry for delay, not getting much yahoogroup time of late
          • ralph
            ... ken, it was from me--i sent it--it was allan smith and gibbons teaching jiu jitsu and bare knuckle boxing---ralph g
            Message 5 of 15 , Mar 29, 2008
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              --- In Bartitsu_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "Ken Pfrenger" <kenpfrenger@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > About 8 years or so ago I had in my possession a short vid clip of US
              > soldiers being trained circa 1919 in hand to hand combat, some jujitsu
              > like moves and boxing. I can't remember where I got it, possibly from
              > Ralph. I passed the tape along to Tim Ruzicki some years ago,perhaps
              > he still has it?
              >
              > My interest in it was the boxing training and I distinctly recall it
              > had a much older look to it than MoQ rules of the era, vertical
              > straight pinches to the head, horizontal punches to the body, most
              > likely close to Dempsey's style. I wish i still had a copy.
              >
              > Ken
              >
              ken, it was from me--i sent it--it was allan smith and gibbons teaching
              jiu jitsu and bare knuckle boxing---ralph g
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